Energized and ready to compete in high intensity events, professional lifeguards from beach patrols across the East Coast gathered at the shore in Atlantic City for the third annual Red Bull Surf + Rescue Race on Tuesday evening. Yeah, that’s right, a surf & rescue race.
The fast-paced battle between beach patrols challenged lifeguards from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Their goal? To compete in four elimination rounds that required competitors to run, swim, paddle and row against one another.
Consisting of four active beach patrol members with at least one female competitor and the option of one alumnus, the teams at this year’s race fought for bragging rights. Along with the chance to gloat, they also competed to win a new jet ski, trailer, rescue sled and $2,500 for their beach patrol.
Thousands of spectators gathered at the beach on Mississippi Avenue to watch as 50 teams of the Mid-Atlantic’s strongest athletes competed in traditional lifeguard racing events.
Dominating the competition for the second year in a row, Longport Beach Patrol finished first to take home the grand prize and maintain their title as champions. The winning team from Longport consisted of Max Mittelman, John Tepper, Tim Schwegman and Taylor Phy.
“We’ve been training twice as hard as last year. I always say it’s hard to get on top, but it’s even harder to stay on top,” Mittelman said in a press release. “This isn’t the end, we’ll be back next year. We are going for a three-peat.”
The beach patrols from New Jersey swept the competition as Ocean City Beach Patrol finished in second place and Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol finished in third place winning, $1,500 and $1,000 for their beach patrols respectively.
Red Bull might give you wings, but for the first event of the race participants needed to channel all their energy into the water for the Swim Relay, which required all team members to swim 250 meters.
After eliminating a few teams and moving onto the second round, 32 teams competed in the Prone Paddleboard Relay. Each team member grabbed their board and paddled 450 meters through the ocean. Paddle boards lined the shoreline as competitors thrashed their arms and glided over waves to finish in the top 16.
The third round was the Run-Run-Row Relay; which featured two competitors running 400 meters while two other team members rowed 700 meters in a doubles race.
Heading into the championship round, the finals consisted of eight teams competing for first place; to crown a winner, one member competed in each of the staple lifeguarding events. One team member swam 250 meters, another paddled 450 meters and two rowers competed in a 700-meter doubles row race.
Onlookers swarmed the finish line to watch as Longport Beach Patrol rowed into the shore; taking first place as the overall winners of the final event.
Overall, the race highlights and challenges the skills of lifeguards as they compete against elite athletes from the East Coast.
Of course, Atlantic City is home to one of the oldest beach patrols in the nation; which means the Red Bull race continues the centuries-old tradition of competing in water events in the Atlantic Ocean.
For info about the race, as well as more about this year’s events and participants, visit the website.
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All Photos: © Kristine Auble / Best of NJ